Of Japanese Food Cooked Right in Front of You // Akira

Shangrila’s East Wing is one of the happening places for new restaurants. So far, we’ve tried Kettle, Chops (somehow I remember it having a different name then, though), Balboa, and Woo Galbi. All have been really good experiences, but happened too long ago for me to even remember or make a post about it. Will just have to wait until we get to try it again before I make a post, maybe.

This time, we were feeling some Japanese, and Akira seemed like the best Japanese restaurant since I didn’t feel like having Katsu at the other Japanese place in the new wing. Plus, teppanyaki sounded especially yummy to D and I that night!

And so off we went to Akira!

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They’ll ask you upon coming in if you prefer a teppanyaki table or just a normal a la carte table. We chose a teppanyaki table, obviously, and sat on one corner of their teppanyaki table, which seats about 8 pax.

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They carry a good selection of classic Japanese favorites, from your usual tempura, sushi, and sashimi and to bento boxes. Their teppanyaki selection comes in the set-selection type or ala carte, where you can pick which type of meat you’ll want cooked. You can go fancy and choose their Kobe or Wagyu sets, or go modest like we did and opted for their US Tenderloin set D, which comes with 150g of Beef, Chicken, Shrimp, and Fried Rice (P948). They say the set is just good for one person, but I think it’s easily shareable for two people. What we did was to get the Set D, added an ala carte order of US Tenderloin, Oysters, and Squid. I guess you can say we were feeling kinda hungry that night.

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Beef, chicken, squid, oysters, vegetables, and of course, more beef!

The nice thing is that Chef Erwin showed us the meat he’ll cook before even starting. So we had a clear idea of what was to come, which is good to help keep your level of anticipation high. He then proceed to ask if you want to see a show, to which we excitedly obliged.

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Beats before your Eats!

He played some beats and rhythms with his teppan tools, doing flips and catches and totally fun juggling acts. You’ll realize later that they do more than just cook your meals, they make sure it’s exciting and your dining experience becomes more than just eating food served. You also get entertained with what their chefs can do while cooking your food!

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Even the way he puts pepper or sauces on the food being cooked is amped up, as Chef Erwin really puts a rhythm or beat into things. He’ll also do a cute little heart while making the fried rice.

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One of the most amazing parts is when he starts to spin a raw egg, then carefully picks it up with his teppan spatula and starts bouncing it up and down!

CaptureWhat happens at the end is that the egg lands in such a way that the spatula slices through its side, like in this picture.

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Amazing egg-juggling skills! Haha

What’s really great with Teppanyaki is that you can see how they cook the dishes.You’ll get three sauces for the dishes – one for chicken, for seafood, and for beef.

Here’s what happened to those plates of raw meat:

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Oysters!

Oysters. Cooked on high heat with the outside slightly made charred and crunchy. You can feel each oyster ooze with its juiciness as you bit into each. Really good flavor too, as it was seasoned well while he cooked it. He also used the oyster shells to present it nicely.

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Squid!

The Squid meanwhile was also cooked juicily – something I think is usually hard to achieve as squid can quickly get too tough to bite if you exceed a certain level of doneness to it.

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Chicken

The Chicken was also good, though not exactly our favorite. Specially since we were anticipating this bad boy right after:

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BEEF!!!

The US Tenderloin beef was absolutely divine. We had it cooked Medium Rare, and again Chef Erwin made the seasoning just light, so we could really taste the silky juiciness of pure beef. It was the last thing cooked and served, and possibly the best part of our meal. We can totally go back to Akira just to have this one.

Like any teppan meal, they’ll also serve Fried Rice and Teppan Veggies, which we liked. The meal also came with miso soup. No dessert though in their set meal, but we’re not complaining.

I’m already excited to have that beef again. I’m sure D is too.

Ooooohhh.

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Akira 
5/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall,
Shaw Blvd cor EDSA
Wack Wack, Mandaluyong(02) 654-3920

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Of Meats Done Your Way // The Butcher Shop & Pub

BGC has always been a place where we go on dates and just chill and go around. Despite having worked around the High Street Area, I never got tired of the place. It’s always been bright and maaliwalas for me, and the wide open spaces are just a good breather from the usual crowded malls or roads we have to go through. Both of us now work a good thirty to forty-five minute drive (on sane traffic days) from BGC, yet it continues to be one of the top of mind places where we go on dates at. The diversity of the food choices, the good shopping areas, and the generally manageable crowds are pretty much what drives us to come back.

After a particularly tiring work week, we went straight to BGC to try out The Butcher Shop & Pub. It’s located at the same building where 2nds is, right in front of the giant pineapple at the JY Campos Center. We passed by the place a few times before when we were looking around during some of the weekends, but we never got to try it out yet.

We were both particularly excited when we decided during the car ride to go for this restaurant since, hello — BUTCHER = MEAT. So we pretty much set the bar high in our minds as to what sort of meat we wanted to have that night.

Wonderfully, they did not disappoint.

How it goes is that you pick your meat, the type of spice combination for the rub, and the sauce that goes with it. I can compare it to an extent to some Mexican joints where you pick the meat, and whether you’d want it as a taco, as a quesadilla, or as a burrito, or whatever. At The Butcher Shop and Pub, you choose among different types of meat – there’s chicken, pork, fish, and of course, multiple grades and cuts of beef you can choose from.

Being steak-hungry that night, we both had 300g rib-eye cuts, mine medium-rare while his medium. To go with mine, I chose pasta, while he got fries with it.

Upon entering you’d notice their display fridge wonderfully stocked with the various meat options you have, along with other things on their menu like the sausages. In front of this is this set up where they have the different spice combinations placed in big jars, and you’d see their cooks actually doing the rubbing right then and there. Mine was rubbed with Cinnamon-Thyme, while his was rubbed in their Hungarian spice combination.

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Anyway, while we waited for our mains, we ordered in their specialty and best-selling starter, the Dumaguete Sisig. I wasn’t able to inquire much into why it was named Dumaguete though, so let’s assume it’s the style of sisig from the city of Dumaguete.

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I don’t really appreciate creamy sisig (those smothered in mayonnaise), but for the first time I actually liked one that did. Maybe it’s partly because I have a newfound liking for mayonnaise, and partly because their Dumaguete Sisig really was nothing like the usual creamy sisig. Just the right amount of saltiness, sourness, and -of course- spiciness to go with all that glorious fatty pork skin trimmings. The creaminess from the mayo was just right too, and it didn’t feel like you’re eating sisig-flavored sandwich spread. It went well with the ice-cold Hoegaarden we were having.

A few minutes after we cleared out the bowl of sisig, our steaks came!!

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Pure awesome meatiness! My medium-rare rib-eye had the right amount of spice flavor to it, with the meat almost fighting against the knife as I sliced, but still melting gloriously in my mouth when I took a bite. It’s still much thinner than what I would normally have and prefer (I like steaks which are at least about 1 inch thick), but this is one of the very few exceptions I have. It was cooked just right, and was in the right portion. We both had their mustard sauce on the side for the steak, though in general I don’t really use any sauce or gravy on my steaks. In terms of the meat, our expectations that night really was fulfilled.

One thing I realized though is that pasta doesn’t really go well with steak. Or at least for me. Steak should just have a plain starch or vegetable dish as a side, possibly like creamed spinach or mashed potato, because anything else will likely overpower the taste of the meat. I liked their Funghi el Melazone, but I felt that it didn’t really complement the steak. I’ll probably have it separately. It probably goes well though if you go for their grilled chicken or fish.

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There still are so many items in their menu that we’d love to try, particularly the sausages which looked so glorious as they hung inside their display freezer. The selection under their Smoke Room category of food items look particularly enticing too!

Will we be back? Yes, definitely. Location, ambiance, selection of food, and price = check, check, check, and check!

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The Butcher Shop & Pub
Ground Floor, Wumaco Building,
Lane P Corner 9th Avenue,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Of Juicy Chops // Tomahawk Chops and Grill

A few Fridays ago, we headed to Kapitolyo because wanted to try Silantro, this Mexican place we’ve been hearing much about these days. Regrettably though, there were a lot of people waiting, so we opted to go look for another restaurant to dine in that night.

The last time we went further down the road to eat at Rub, there weren’t many restaurants yet, so on the way to Silantro, we were actually surprised to pass a few restaurants we hadn’t seen before. Usually, when we went around Kapitolyo, we would usually end around Thai Dara or a few meters from there. One of the restaurants we saw going to Silantro was Tomahawk Chops and Grill, and being the carnivore D usually is, we decided that was the next best thing to Silantro that night.

Having opened just last June, Tomahawk Steaks and Chops is one of the newest restaurants along Kapitolyo. From the street, it initially seems like a small place which would sit about 20 people, but it was much roomier. Further inside would likely sit another 25 people, which makes it a good place in Kapitolyo since some restaurants sit only a few tables.

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Photo from Tomahawk’s Facebook Page

One of the corners inside

For our starters, we were still on a high from the calamaris from Mad for Pizza, so we decided to give Tomahawk’s Calamaris a go. I liked the crispiness of the batter and breading, and the juiciness of the squid. D though thought Mad for Pizza’s was still yummier. Still, I’d advise you to go for Tomahawk’s Calamaris. I would hope they have a tomato-based dip though, other than the mayonnaise.

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We of course had to get the specialty of the house, which were Tomahawk Chops. What are Tomahawk Chops exactly? Well, the tomahawk is actually a type of an ax that had been used by Native Americans as a general tool. The logo of the restaurant is actually a silhouette of this ax. The pork chops got their name from this ax because of its shape. The chop is left with its bone in, though cleaned up so that the bone can be used as the handle. I would guess they used the bone as a way to hold the chop.

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See the shape?

You have the option to have the chop fried or grilled. We both had it grilled, and had the rice upgraded to the Dirty Rice, which had very good notes of spice and flavor. It went well with the barbecue and the juicy meat, and I’d suggest to have that upgrade. You also get to choose a side to go with your meal – i had mushrooms, while D had mac and cheese. You can skip their mac and cheese, as it felt a bit powdery, and your Instant Mac & Cheese Dinner at home might taste better.

Thick, juicy goodness!

Look at that thick and juicy goodness. It’s so amazing how Kapitolyo has been home to so many new dining places! We’re super excited to try out all the new ones soonest!

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Tomahawk Chops and Grill
56-A East Capitol Dr
Kapitolyo, Pasig
(0917) 840-9876

Of Pizza and Toppings You Want // Mad for Pizza

Pizza is awesome. This is especially true after a hectic busy day at work. So after one very long, tiring work day, this is exactly what we decided to do. It’s actually just been a couple of weeks ago since we first tried Mad for Pizza, and we were right back in because of two main things: good food and value for money.

Mad for Pizza offers a topping-all-you can pizza in their menu for P280. You can also select from one of the three pizza flavors on their preset menu for P250. For just an additional 30 bucks though, you get total control over all aspects of your pizza, from the dough to the sauce and of course, all the toppings. Yes, you can go crazy with the toppings even, and it’s still going to be P280.

Unlike Project Pie, Mad for Pizza is more of a casual dining sit down restaurant. Well, sort of. You enter their restaurant and you don’t line up at their pizza counter. Instead, you’re directed to a table and given a menu. When you choose to make your own pizza, you’re given the option to either fill out a sheet with which toppings you want, or head up to the counter and tell the pizza-maker what specific toppings you want. You can even do two flavors on one pizza. Which is what we did.

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Capers putting the toppings on our pizzas!

Here’s what we ended up with:

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2/3 of our Pizza

Half all-meat and cheese and half cheesy pepperoni mushroom. Regrettably this is the best photo I have, since we got excited and immediately took out slices the moment our server put the pizza on our table. The first time we went there, we thought we needed one each. We realized one pizza was good already for the two of us, unlike Project Pie’s where one pizza would be too bitin for sharing.

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Pizza!!

The first time we were in, we randomly picked a starter – Fried Calamari. It easily became our favorite, so we had it again this time.

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What we loved about their calamari is the juiciness of the fried squid, though I’m actually betting the batter tastes more like fried chicken batter, which it probably really is. Still, not a bad thing, really, as it coated the squid rings well, giving way to that juicy and tender squid meat.

If you’re an extra hungry couple, you’d likely need to get one pizza each. But otherwise, their pizza is heavy and topping-filled enough to make up a satisfying meal for a couple. You can just add sides or pastas instead of adding another pizza.

For a dinner time, Mad for Pizza wasn’t filled with many people, which I actually feel rather sad about. It’s got good food and great value for money, and while the location can be a big factor (not really much foot traffic in Il Terrazzo), I’d wish more people would drop by to give their pizzas a try.

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Mad for Pizza
2nd Floor, Il Terrazzo
305 Tomas Morato cor Scout Madrinan